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Immersion Program ’00 Case Study


Lori Buchanan
User Education Librarian
Austin Peay State University
Clarksville, Tennessee

Type of Institution  

Austin Peay State University (APSU), Tennessee’s designated public comprehensive liberal arts university, is located in urban Clarksville (pop. 103,000), 45 miles northwest of the state capital, Nashville.  The University is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution and is a member of the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad.  The Library is a member of the Southeastern Library Network, the Nashville Area Library Alliance, TENN-SHARE and the Tennessee Electronic Library.

Type of Library

APSU’s Woodward Library is most like the Selective liberal arts college Carnegie Foundation category.

Institutional Characteristics

Enrollment:  7,500 students

Distinguished programs include:

§         Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts

§         Center of Excellence for Field Biology

§         Heritage Program (alternative core of interdisciplinary Humanities courses in writing speaking and research –librarians team-teach)

§         Honors Program

§         International Education Center

§         Presidential Research Scholars Program

§         President’s Emerging Leaders Program

APSU’s educational emphasis is the liberal arts and professional programs.  The University offers undergraduate programs in the above areas.  Its graduate programs serve the needs of the region and prepare students for doctoral studies.  Its Nursing and Education Programs are among the best in the State.

On-campus majors and professional programs having the largest enrollments (200 or more students during Fall 1999) are:

Education                                          Business

            Nursing                                             Biology

            Computer Science/                            Communication Arts
                Information Systems


On-campus majors with 100 or more students during Fall 1999 are:

            Psychology                                       Art                                                       

            English                                              Music                                                          
         Chemistry                                          Agriculture                 

            Social Work                                      Political Science                 

            History                                              Health/Human                                                                              Performance                                   

The largest number of degrees at the Austin Peay Center @ Fort Campbell during 1998-99 was awarded in General Studies.

User Demographics

            4,629 full-time students; 2,811 part-time students

            6,985 undergraduates; 455 graduate students

            1,200 residential; 6,300 commuter

            2,480 traditional (21 or younger); 2,841 non-traditional ( 22 or older)*

            2,416 headcount distance education; 1,083 FTE distance education**   

               773 reentry (readmitted)  

                 33 international

               401 transfer

               277 full-time faculty; 181 adjuncts

                   0 teaching assistants teaching undergraduate courses

            20.2 is the ACT composite score for APSU freshmen. 

   N/A  SAT score (taken by only 74 out of 900 incoming freshmen)

*on-campus figures only; most of distance education students are non-traditional

** 92% attend the Austin Peay Center @ Fort Campbell

Library and Library Personnel

Library holdings: book volumes 317,252; periodical subscriptions 1,787

No branch libraries

Online Catalog: Web version of Epixtech, formerly Horizon

Internet access is available via the InfoStations & the Library Instruction Room

12 librarians, including the Library Dean; six librarians (50%) are instructors

20 classified/support staff, none of whom participate in instruction program

7 public services librarians;  4 technical services librarians; 1 Library Dean

Instruction Program Budget

There is not a separate budget line for the User Education Program.

Instructional personnel, some software and duplicating are funded out of the general Library budget.  Library Instruction and Computer Room (LICR) equipment and software come out of the University’s Student Technology Access Fee Fund.  The 2000-2001 LICR budget, which is managed by the User Education Librarian, is $20,000.  It covers student workers, paper and toner used during non-instructional hours when the LICR serves as a student computer lab.  In 1994, $110,000 was spent out of the Technology Access Fee Fund to build and equip the LICR with 24 computers and printers, as well as instructional equipment, including a video networking system.  In 1998, the 24 computers and the printers were replaced with new equipment as part of the established campus-wide student lab 4-year replacement cycle and special project funds.  The video networking system was replaced out of the Library Systems budget.

The Instruction Program within the Organization

The User Education Program was formalized in 1986 with the hiring of a User Education Librarian.  The Program operates under the purview of the Information Services (Reference) Department, and the User Education Librarian reports to the Head of Information Services.  Information Services librarians who are responsible for reference, user education, electronic resources, interlibrary loan, distance education and government publications share instructional duties.  The User Education Librarian performs sixty per cent of all library instruction.

Training/Continuing Education

On-campus continuing education/training opportunities specifically for instruction librarians do not exist; however, the librarians take advantage of opportunities offered to the faculty at large.  Through the years, we have attended training sessions on such topics as collaborative learning styles and web instruction development.  No formalized staff development program focussing on instruction exists within the Library.  However, training sessions are held regularly by the Information Services Librarians.  In these sessions, staff members are trained about changes to the Library’s InfoStation and are shown how to help library users use available electronic information sources.


Librarians have made positive connections with other campus units.  The Library’s System Department works with Computer Services to maintain servers and network connections.  Campus committee work, such as the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Development Review Committee and the Technology Funding Review Committee, helps the librarians establish good working relationships with other faculty and staff.  We also serve as members of the Technology Board and as members and leaders of the Academic Technology Council and Campus Computer Lab Committee.  Our instruction librarians team-teach with Composition and Speech instructors in the Heritage Program.  We collaborate with Composition instructors on in-service workshops for local school teachers, and provide library tours and instruction for local school groups and for organizations such as the Boy Scouts. In the mid 1990’s, librarians co-taught the Internet to campus users and to Tennessee K-12 teachers with other faculty and the Computer Services staff.

Instruction Program Content

The APSU User Education Program provides three types of formal instruction.  They include: orientations (3%), course-integrated instruction (12%) and course-related instruction (85%).  The predominant type is one-shot, course-related instruction, which is delivered to approximately 110 classes a year.  Five course-integrated instruction sessions are delivered to three Heritage class sections each year. 

In 1987, the User Education Librarian wrote a proposal advocating the use of course-related and course-integrated instruction at APSU.  The librarians embrace these types of instruction in the Library’s Mission Statement and Goals.  It states that “Foremost among [the Library’s] functions is teaching and the provision of information literacy opportunities to all levels of the University community, in order to equip its members with the skills needed to be competent life-long learners.”  Specific teaching goals listed are: “1) Emphasize the role of teaching and instruction in all venues and forms, including individual and technology-based instruction and formal course integrated courses;  2) Develop creative mechanisms enhancing the Library’s constituents’ information literacy, critical thinking skills, and life-long learning; and 3) Expand the Library’s services to distance learning students including those at off-campus sites.”

The content of instruction is determined by the librarians who instruct.  Instruction librarians work together to improve content through informal discussions, email and formal meetings.  They teach toward the assignments which students must complete for the classroom instructor.  Course-related instruction sessions for freshman level courses include an introduction to the Library’s services and the research process.  Depending on the class assignment, basic searching techniques for the online catalog, electronic periodical databases and the Internet are introduced.  More specialized research techniques and sources are taught to the upper division and graduate classes.  Feedback from faculty members is solicited and is used by the librarians to modify instruction.  Although they are not formalized in every case, student outcomes are discussed for each type of instruction.  At this point, we do not have an agreed upon definition of information literacy.

Description of Problem

ISSUE:           Review and modification of current library instruction to ensure that the User Education Program contributes to information literacy efforts at APSU

The issue I want to solve involves planning and implementing  1) a review of the Library’s User Education Program, 2) modifications of the Program to incorporate the ACRL approved Information Literacy Competency Standards appropriate to library instruction and  3) an assessment process to determine if the library instruction is meeting the Standards.  The end result will be that the Library is doing its part to ensure that APSU students become information literate.

No evaluations or assessments have been undertaken.  The problems listed below were identified based on my impressions, discussions with my library colleagues and faculty feedback.  Problems include:

§         instruction has not been reviewed and updated in light of the new Information Literacy Standards

§         instruction has been driven by technology, that is it focuses so much on the mechanics of using electronic resources that important information literacy concepts are not being covered

§         formal assessment has been lacking

Structural Components

Our Program is primarily driven by demand.  Although we are proactive in seeking out instructional opportunities, course-related instruction is offered primarily upon faculty request.  A wide range of courses are reached, including

§         many of the sections of English 1010 and Speech 1010

§         many of the sections of Health 1260 (Personal Health) and Psychology 1210 (Psychology of Personal Adjustment), which have been tagged the two ‘Freshman Experience’ courses offered at APSU

§         five out of six of the graduate programs which have a ‘research’ course

§         classes taught at the Austin Peay Center @ Fort Campbell

Librarians have been involved in the Heritage Program from its inception 12 years ago.  Course-integrated instruction occurs in two Heritage Writing, Speaking and Researching Across the Curriculum courses in which librarians team-teach with Composition and Speech instructors to integrate research into the writing and speaking processes that students learn.  What we learn in Heritage influences the course-related instruction we provide.

The Library Instruction and Computer Room built in 1994 gives us the ability to actively engage students in learning about the research process.  Shifts in instructional emphases occurred in 1995 when an online public access catalog was added and soon thereafter when we began including the World Wide Web in our instruction.

Program strengths include:

§         dedicated instruction librarians

§         a Library Instruction and Computer Room (LICR) in which to conduct instruction and engage students in active learning

§         web-based instructional materials which are integrated with information resources at APSU Library’s web site

§         distance education—students at Fort Campbell receive the same library instruction opportunities as on-campus students

Program weaknesses include:

§         library instruction is not reaching all students; there is no one course in which all students can be reached

§         the same students receive the same instruction more than once

§         librarians have only one-shot at most students

§         the mechanics of searching get too much attention; needed concepts and skills are not covered well enough

Time and limited personnel will be the major constraints experienced in examining the programmatic issue.  An opportunity to improve our Program exists by gaining new skills at the Immersion Institute which can be used develop an action plan in which the Program is reviewed and modified according to the Standards.  Implementing the action plan will improve our Program.



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Last Updated: 24-Jun-2013 | Questions or comments to